Thursday, September 16, 2004

Coming home

New Zealand's troops are coming home from Iraq. While I'm sure they did an excellent job in a bad situation, you've got to question why they went in the first place. Given we don't have access to Superman and his mates, how much difference can 60 people make - the Americans have 140,000+ out there.

I'm afraid that most Iraqis are unlikely to distinguish between one lot of English speaking foreigners and another - even to register that the ones with the funny bird on their sleeve don't shove electrodes up your arse (I would hope...)

The Nats have a logical defence policy - they see our forces as a resource for the Americans / British to call on as needed. For Labour, who presumably regard NZ as a fully independent nation, maybe they need to give this some thought. Here's my idea anyway:
  • Recognise that as one of the smaller countries in the world, we don't own any big sticks and will have to just stick to speaking softly (and intelligently) for the most part.
  • Set down in legislation that we cannot send troops anywhere without either a UN mandate or the consent of a legitimate, democratic, government.
  • Accept (and possibly entrench in law) that our role is within the South Pacific, not halfway across the world.
  • Possibly create a semi-military Regional Emergency Force with the task of dealing with natural disasters and other situations in the South Pacific area (from a cyclone in Fiji to an earthquake in Nelson). This is most of what we need military resources for really, and something that we don't necessarily have the right resources for anyway - e.g. when we wind up using diddy little civilian helicopters for search and rescue, when what's really needed is a big solid Iroquois.

1 comment:

sagenz said...

If New Zealand continued to live up to its heritage it would have around 1.5% of the US contribution to allow a similar per capita ratio. with around 140,000 that would suggest NZ should have sent 2000 people. you realise how much NZ armed forces have been run down when you figure that is triple our close to ready capacity. the logic that we shouldnt have bothered cos we are too small is rubbish. New Zealand has a proud history of contributing to freedom and democracy.